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Documents Required for US Student Visa

Documents Required for US Student Visa

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What are the documents needed for the US student visa? Read this blog by GyanDhan which provides a complete list of documents required for a US student visa.

GyanDhan
Aishwarya Bhatt
Updated on:  17 Nov 2023  | Reviewed By: 
Aman 
| 7.95K | 6  min read

Documents Required for US Student Visa

From securing admission to a recognized university to the visa interview, obtaining a US student visa involves presenting genuine and accurate documents to demonstrate accountability and eligibility. However, understanding the specific document requirements, such as the I-20 and DS-120, can be confusing without proper guidance. Mistakes during the document collection process can hinder your visa application. In this blog, we provide a stage-by-stage breakdown of the entire document requirement process for a US student visa.

  1. list items Documents required to apply for a US student visa interview
  2. list items Documents required for booking a VAC appointment
  3. list items Documents required to attend the US student visa interview
  4. list items Guidelines for US student visa documents
  5. list items Frequently Asked Questions

 Hike in the fee for US visa: The application fee for a US visa is 185 USD from 17 June 2023, a 25 USD hike from the past 160 USD.

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Documents required to apply for a US student visa interview

Once you get an acceptance letter from the US university, you need to gather the set of documents required to apply for a US student visa interview. The offer letter you receive contains credentials to log in and proceed to certain US systems that track your application throughout your stay in the US as a student. 

  • list items Passport: A passport is the most basic requirement to leave your home country for abroad. For a US student visa, you must have a passport that is valid for at least the next 6 months.  
  • list items Form I-20: You need proof of admittance to a recognized US university to apply for an F or M student visa (see the types of US student visas for details), for which form I-20 helps. It is issued by the university detailing your course and self-funding details like bank statements or an education loan sanction letter. It is a crucial form throughout your stay in the US as an international student and to be stamped when you take up part-time employment, travel outside the US, etc.  
  • list items Confirmation page of Form DS-160: The DS-160 is the official non-immigrant visa application form to the US for a student visa. You will be filling it out online and paying the fee as per the directions. After that, you must get the printout of the DS-160 confirmation page to proceed with the visa interview application.  
  • list items SEVIS and visa application fee receipts: You must possess the SEVIS fee receipt and visa application fee (that includes the application processing fee and Affidavit of Support (AOS) fees) receipt before attending the consular interview.

 

What is SEVIS? 

SEVIS, or Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, is an internet-based system of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to track and monitor the activities of international students and exchange visitors in the US. SEVIS is managed by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), which certifies US universities and colleges. You cannot study in a US institution not recognized by the SEVP. 

Join GyanDhan’s discussion forum to learn in detail about documents required for US visa process. Get valuable insights from peers, alums, mentors, and experts for your concerns. 

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Documents required for booking a VAC appointment

For a student visa to the US, it is mandatory that students submit their biometric data to the US government. The biometric data is collected by scheduling a VAC appointment, and the student’s fingerprints and digital photographs are captured for security reasons. Also known as OFC (Offsite Facilitation Center) appointment, the following documents are needed to attend the VAC appointment: 

  1. list items A valid passport
  2. list items DS-160
  3. list items Appointment confirmation page

 

Note: Information on the DS-160 and passport should match to avoid delays. Items like Electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablets, food or drink, large bags, cigarettes or lighters, sharp objects, aerosols, and weapons are not allowed at the VAC appointment.

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Documents required to attend the US student visa interview

Finally, congratulate yourself once you attend the US visa interview since it is the last hurdle in the application process from your end. Indian students can schedule a visa interview and attend within 56 days of registering with mandatory documents prescribed by the US embassy or consulate as listed below: 

 

It is mandatory to bring original documents to the US visa interview. If the documents are not original, it may lead to denial of your US student visa.

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Guidelines for US student visa documents

In the documentation process, your university will direct you to upload the documents in the right format and size on specified portals. The following are basic guidelines you may keep in mind for a prior understanding of the process:

  1. list items All the financial and civil documents are uploaded to the US Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) of the National Visa Center (NVC).
  2. list items CEAC accepts files in a JPG, JPEG, or PDF format less than 2 MB in size.
  3. list items Upload all the necessary personal (birth certificate, passport, etc.) and financial (like education loans, fixed deposits, etc) documents. There are also optional documents you can upload.

 

WES Evaluation: The World Evaluation Services (WES) is an external agency that translates your academic and other documents into the US and Canadian systems. Generally, you are required to evaluate your academic and other credentials by the WES. Thanks to the rising student immigration, nowadays, many US universities do not mandate WES evaluation as they embrace the grading scales of more countries.

Thus, a compartmentalized list of documents for the US visa application will help you gather them in advance before the interview. The most important tip to be given is to gather the documents as soon as possible since there might be a delay in the process owing to unexpected reasons. 

If confusion still persists in you and needs personalized guidance on the documents required, book a visa counseling call with our expert education counselors, who will let you know a-z of the US student visa application.

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Frequently asked questions

What are the financial documents required for a US student visa?

The financial documents vary as per your preference of funding for the US. Typically the following are financial documents for a US student visa:

  1. list items Bank account statements
  2. list items Pay stubs (for employed applicants)
  3. list items Tax returns
  4. list items Education loan sanction letter
  5. list items Sponsorship documents (if someone is sponsoring your studies)

How can I find the required documents for my US university?

In addition to the general list of documents, you may need more course-specific documents as per the university’s requirements. You might see a lot of others recommending what to submit and what not. But the best way to find all the documents you need is by checking the university’s website or emailing the university’s contact center.

What if I submit a fake document to get a US student visa?

Applicants should not submit a fake document while applying for a US student visa. Doing so will disqualify your application and may lead you to be blocked from entering the US in the future.

What if I lack some documents while applying to a US university? 

As an applicant, you must have all the fundamental documents with you. If you lack any of them and you have a valid reason, better you contact the university concerned and get a response from them. You can proceed with the application only if the university understands and accepts your request with the conditions.

Can you smile in a US visa photo? 

Yes, you can. But the smile must be natural and not an exaggerated one. Both of your eyes must be open. 

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